The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Briefs show administration's intentions to legalize torture

by Jon Elmer

June 9, 2004 – A pair of internal memos have surfaced illustrating the Bush Administration’s attempts, both within the Justice and Defense Departments, to find a legal framework for the use of torture in the interrogation of enemies. A 50-page Justice Department brief signed by the head of the administration’s Office of Legal Counsel and delivered to White House Counsel Alberto R Gonzales states that torture "may be justified" and that international law "may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogation" because of the necessity for self-defense, the Washington Post reported. The document dated August 1, 2002 was drawn up at the request of the CIA in order to craft more aggressive techniques for their field operatives. A former Office of Legal Counsel lawyer told the Post that the brief is considered akin to a legally binding document because it was signed by the head of the Office of Legal Counsel, Jay S Bybee. Attorney General John Ashcroft appeared before a Congressional hearing yesterday and refused to release the memo, which has only been leaked. Also, The Wall Street Journal reported a second memo, dated March 2003, that is a draft of legal advice by the Defense Department’s chief counsel. It states: "Because nothing is more important than 'obtaining information vital to the protection of untold thousands of American citizens', normal strictures on torture might not apply."

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.


Jon Elmer is a contributing journalist.

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